Plant protection products (PPP) can betransported from treated fields to surface waters via surface runoff during rain events. Potential risks for aquatic organisms due to surface runoff are assessed during the registration process for PPP, and risk mitigation measures are implemented if necessary. Currently, a vegetated buffer zone of 6 m width may be required as risk mitigation measure for surface runoff. Further options for risk mitigation of surface runoff that can be linked to PPP registration were evaluated at Agroscope on behalf of the Swiss Federal Office for Agriculture. These options should effectively reduce the contamination of surface waters while minimizing impacts on agricultural productivity. The list of mitigation measures resulting from this project offers farmers the possibility to combine those measures that are best suited for their particular situation or those that are already implemented for other reasons (e.g., for erosion control). Besides vegetated buffer zones, these include e.g. conservation tillage, vegetated strips within the field and use of cover crops in orchards and vineyards
Those wishing to promote biodiversity in agriculture by means of result-based schemes need meaningful indicators. An overview of proposed and used indicators highlights developments and challenges.
Foods of animal origin – friend or foe? It all depends on the needs of consumers and on local production conditions, as shown by a major review in which Agroscope took part.
In vegetable production it is usual to leave crop residues on the field. Measurements carried out by Agroscope researchers show that removing these residues significantly reduces nitrate leaching.